In this study, the reproducibility and validity of an automated artificial finger for evaluating properties of vaginal wall tissue was assessed. The effect of angle and rate of indentation on displacing the anterior vaginal wall (AVW) was studied in control and prolapse patients. Following IRB approval, an automated artificial finger equipped with a calibrated piezoresistive sensor at its tip was used to induce 3-second AVW deformation sequences (10°, 15°, and 20° indentation). Measurements were taken in patients in supine position, either awake in clinic or under anesthesia in the operating room (OR). The real time voltage output of a sensor (linearly proportional to the reaction force) was recorded for each motion profile to calculate key parameters: baseline voltages, amplitude changes over indentation intervals, and slopes of indentation curves. 23 women (9 controls and 14 prolapse) were studied, 6 in clinic and 17 in OR. No differences in mean reproducibility was noted across groups. There was a significant difference in sensor output based on selected motion profile parameters between different degrees of indentation for all women (p < 0.001) and in baseline voltage between age-matched and non-age-matched controls (p < 0.02). From these findings, we can conclude that indentation reaction properties of prolapsed and non-prolapsed AVW can be objectively measured using an operator-independent artificial finger with significant differences between patient groups.
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